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Anxiety, depression, personality crises

Hi There,

I'm struggling in life, and most significantly, with myself.

I feel like a hostage to my own mind. I over think everything and cannot get away from myself. Almost all of my social interactions (bar a number with my family) are a strain, and things I cannot enjoy. I used to be more often, and can be still (if that part of me takes the lead) a confident and social person. This confidence and self-contentment however is something that has been eroding over the last couple of years.

While my depressive cycles I used to consider isolated events, I feel now more like my life is one interminable struggle against myself - to endure the self-hatred, my inconsistency of character, inability to laugh and be funny, to speak confidently with friends about the most basic things, to have fun, and generally to be able to relax.

I broke down twice in one day yesterday which is pretty pathetic.

I started seeing a psychologist a couple of weeks ago which has been moderately helpful but I fear isn't really getting at the main issues.

Would be great to talk to someone who can relate - I really want to be able to change the way my mind has wired itself, to erase all the negative systems of thinking and horrible thoughts which I can painfully see are crippling my potential to have relationships, work and grow as a person. I'm very confused really, and don't know whether to talk the whole situation down or talk it up.


Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

Hey Joe, 


I can totally relate with finding social interactions a real stuggle, I've also been a very very introverted person, and I generally really dislike talking to other people, but I've found that it gets better over time and with practice at talking to people. I also overthink things A LOT. But for me, what I reckon I had to convince myself was that there's no reason for people to not like me or not want to talk to me, I have no evidence that I'm not a likeable person, therefore why should I be so afraid of interacting with people? Once I stopped caring so much about what people thought, it got a lot easier to be myself and then to find that people liked me for who I am. 


You say that you used to be a confident social person, well that makes me think you can still be that, that's just a side of you that's been dormant for a while. Perhaps you can start by trying to identify the negative thoughts that are stopping you from being social, and then seeing if there's any evidence for those thoughts; more often than not, you'll find that there isn't, so try to turn them into more realistic thoughts. Also, you'll be surprised at how many people have similar struggles with socialising, and some of the most common thoughts are that they're not interesting, or not likeable, but when you actually think realisticly about it, you might find that there's absolutely no reason to believe those things. I've also found that it's when you think those things that they become more of a reality, because that's the opinion about yourself that you're projecting onto other people, which is why it's all the more important to think positively and realisticly about yourself, because again, if you believe that you're a confident and capable person, then likely that's how other people will view you as well. 


I'd also really encourage you to continue seeing your psychologist, and be as patient and honest as you can. You can't expect to see dramatic results right away, but I think it would be worthwhile for you to keep working with them and stay open and honest so they can help you more. 


Good luck Smiley Happy


Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

Hey Joe B 


Struggling with yourself from time to time is normal and I think sometimes you need to have a moment so that you can build yourself up again. It is terrible that you are feeling this way and that you feel as though you have lost your confidence but what is important that you have said is that you can still be a confident and social person. So you do have hope that you will get out of this. 


You broke down, you expressed emotion and I think that is better than holding everything and pretending to be strong. It is great that you are seeing a psychologist but do they know what you are going through and how you are feeling? If you do feel like they cannot help you there are many psychologists out there that might be compatible with you. 


Changing the mind is very difficult, I go through it all the time, negative thinking will not disappear but you need to find a way to make the positive thinking LOUDER than the negative. There is a factsheet that might help you find a way to challenge your negative thinking.  I think it might also be important to read this one about self-talk and finding better ways to have positive self talk. 


Have you also tried buiding coping strategies? Doing things that make you feel better when you are feeling down and taking care of yourself in positive ways. Check this out if you want to have a look at some ideas.


I hope that helps and additionally speaking to Lifeline on 13 11 14 might help you figure a few things out. 

**Believe in the power of you because you are your own hero**

Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

[to Graphiqual]


Hi there,


Thanks very much for your reply.


I'm glad you can relate - and for me when I am feeling and thinking in this cosmically negative way, social interactions are a huge struggle.  In the times when I don't feel depressed, and I'm not crippled by my conscious in overdrive though, I do enjoy talking with people - and life becomes more about living and less about coping...


I think the point about evidence is really important, and thank you for highlighting it. Sometimes I think we do just need a logical kick up the backside as it were. And I guess that next stage is where I want to feel comfortable in - not thinking about what people think about me... Its largely now a subconscious, constant process in my mind, but trying to stop it is really important, and something I'll work on.


And thats also a very supportive idea - and I think that sometimes I'm able to remind myself that that is the case... I do have times when I can be an open, confident version of myself, which is less pre-occupied with how I'm coming across and what I'm thinking in my own mind and more involved in the moment and with the people around me.  The fact that its not a one of a kind problem is also important for me to remind myself, and also the significance of how I see myself in how I come across to others are really key.


I aim to do that. I had a really important session I think today, where I brought in some writing I had done at a massive low/breakdown point, which the psychologist openly said helped her gain a much stronger sense for my feelings.  This is something I hope to continue, to get everything out on the table, and work with it in the open.


Once again thanks for you're reply, amazing to learn that people are listening


Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

[to Ruenhonx]


Hey there,


Thank you very much for your reply.


Hope - yes. Although fleeting, and at times its hard or impossible to see, I know its always there.  And being my confident and social self is something I'm trying to become more relaxed with.


I did - and although there were competing feelings of relief and guilt at having done it, I think its important that I put it out on the table... As for my psychologist, I actually had what I think was a very important session today, where I brought in some writing from a time where I was at a major low/breakdown, to show her how I can feel.  She said she gained a very strong sense of my feelings from it, and was transported to some of the emotions I described, which I feel is a great step forward with the whole thing.


Yep - the fact that the negative won't dissapear is something I'm learning, and coming to grips with.  And yes, in the future I really hope that my positive voice will be louder than the negative, and I will work in whatever way I can to help that process.


Some of the points on self-talk I found very useful, and I will look at the negative thinking sheet also. The strategies are something I will try and implement where I can.


Apologies for the relatively rushed reply, and thanks again for taking the time to respond.


Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

Hey Joe B 


I am so glad you feel supported and that you are working through this. You are a strong person. 


Please do come on the forums and let us know how you are going. 


Take care Smiley Happy

**Believe in the power of you because you are your own hero**

Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

Hey Guys,

Feeling like I'm taking a turn for the worst.

Started on anti-depressants last week, which didn't agree with me (experienced side of effects of extreme anxiety among other things), so I'm going to the docs again today to be re-prescribed another type.

I'm feeling increasingly isolated and unable to keep anything in perspective. Starting to feel out of control. Becoming unable to work and physically feeling very fatigued all the time.

Any thoughts/advice?

Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

I'd talk to the Dr and say that your experiencing side effects- and really stress how uncomfortable they make you feel. Generally, the side effects go away, but I'd still mention it to them.

I had massive problems with fatigue: water, fruit and exersise were amazing at shifting a huge chunk of it! See what works for you. Smiley Happy

Let us know how you go. 


Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

Hi Joe B


Shadow's advice sounds really helpful, especially the part about talking to your doctor about the side effects.


This might not help as everyone's case is different but a friend of mine found that eliminating caffeine, alcohol and nicotine from her diet helped to alleviate some similar side effects. It might be worth excluding these for a while or, at the very least, asking your doctor whether anything in your diet such as these could be a little incompatible with your medication.


Re: Anxiety, depression, personality crises

Thanks very much for this guys.

To give you an update, I spoke to the doc yesterday and told him about how I was feeling. I had already stopped feeling the side effects at that point (and have not felt them re-emerging at all) and he has now given me a new pre-scription of anti-depressants which I'm taking. I think this next couple of weeks will be difficult but hoping after that i'll get a lift, and be able to start sortings out from a perspective that is healthier..

On the diet side of things - I stopped drinking about 2 months ago because I felt it wasn't good for how I feel. I don't smoke. Excercise and good food have luckily always been habits of mine so I'm pretty physically well except for a lot of fatigue recently... I feel these things definitely help.

One of the big things for me in the last couple of days has been coming to accept where I am right now. I don't feel great a lot of the time. But I feel that recognizing this, and not beating myself up over it constantly, is and will be a big help.

Once again thanks for all your help, and I'll keep posting as I go along.